When you are between jobs in Singapore, it can be tempting to apply for the first job vacancy that comes your way. But before applying, make sure you have answers to these key questions:
1. What does the future of the industry look like?
Ride-hailing apps, enabled by digital technologies, have turned the transport industry on its head, and the prospect of automation and machine learning will impact the scope of administrative jobs and even careers in law and medicine. Being aware of the growth prospects of companies you are interested in — and how their industry will be impacted by disruption — can help focus your job search on those industries that could offer you job security and career growth. Read more about 2018 tech trends.
Aside from the business sections in leading newspapers like The Straits Times and reliable sources like Channel NewsAsia, specific publications like The Business Times can also help you stay updated on where the economy is headed. Most importantly, keep track of official announcements from the government, like those from the Ministry of Manpower, especially on their initiatives to boost specific industries and programmes aimed at helping jobseekers find employment.
For example, in July 2017, the Ministry of Manpower identified five industries most likely to be impacted by disruptions: healthcare; infocomm and media; wholesale trade; professional services; and financial services, which collectively account for nearly one million workers. The good news is that these industries are also expanding. In the next few years, of the 25,000 to 40,000 PMET jobs created annually, half are expected to be in these sectors. Understanding developments like this can help you prioritise job applications to companies that might have a higher chance of hiring within your own industry or even help you decide on courses to upskill for jobs in a different industry altogether.
2. Do your personality and skills match the role?
Before you start applying for jobs, make a list of all your skills, qualities and areas for improvement — both related to work and in your personal life — and see how well they match up with those given, or implied, in the job roles you are interested in. A useful starting point is the Holland Code Personality Test (recommended by Career Coaches from Workforce Singapore’s Careers Connect) which categorises your personality type into one or more of the following — Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional — based on your character traits and suggests the most suitable occupations. You can also find out your skills matched to your chosen job on MyCareersFuture.
3. What does the company value?
Even if a role looks to be a good match for your skills, it’s still a good idea to find out more about the company’s values and whether these align with your own, the company culture and the direction the company is going in. Start looking for clues about these on the company website, its Facebook page and its blog, if it has one.
Does the company state its values clearly, using words like “collaborative”, “innovative”, “people-focused” or “preserving the kampung spirit”; and do these strike a chord with you?
Are there any indicators of the company culture? For example, does the company provide employee benefits that you might value, financial or otherwise; flexible working hours; team-oriented culture; or growth opportunities? See if the content on their social media channels — such as photos, company videos or posts — mentions their employees or showcases team-building activities; it could give an insight into the type of working environment and the average employee’s work-life balance.
A company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives could also resonate with you, like how NTUC Income approaches this through community development, human rights and environmental consideration, among other factors.
4. What is the future of the company?
Seek out recent news coverage that may not be captured in a company’s corporate pages and social media accounts. Search for the company name on Google and filter by “news” stories, or even go a step further and set up Google Alerts for mentions of the company online to be sent to your inbox.
Look out for positive developments like growth and expansion plans, new product releases and awards considerations to get an idea of the financial strength and reputation of the company. On the other hand, heed news stories on hiring freezes, salary disputes and major organisational restructuring which could give you hints about the stability of the company and consequently job security for its employees.